The period from December 9, 1943 to January 25, 1944, saw the highly
regarded "Swayback Maru" continue in the Central Pacific area with
Rear Admiral Small's Task Group, with the mission of denying the Gilbert-Ellice Islands area to enemy surface forces. The base was at Funa Futi.
Next came the Marshall Islands operation, which started November 26, 1943.
Operating with a neutralization force of a task group the cruiser conducted
eight bombardments of Wotje and two bombardments of Taro, Maloelap Atoll,
in connection with the capture and occupation of Kwajalein, Majuro and
Eniwetok and the attack on Jaluit.
The first bombardment of Wotje, on January 29, 1944 brought weak and
inaccurate enemy counter-battery fire; the SALT LAKE CITY hit the
island fortifications with 350 rounds of 8 inch shells attaining good
Taroa next felt the wrath of the "One Ship Fleet's" guns to the
sting of 150 rounds of 8 inch and there was no enemy resistance. On the
31st Taroa felt the blows of 185 rounds of 8 inch and 191 rounds of 5"/25;
the latter on Emma Island. Results, once again, were very good.
Wotje was hit by the SALT LAKE CITY'S guns on the 2nd, 9th, 11th,
14th, 15th, and 17th of February, 1944 as a total of 713 rounds of 8 inch
shells, 1 - 100 pound GP Bomb and 65 rounds of 5"/25 were expended upon it.
Basing on Kwajalein and Majuro as a unit of a Task Group (Rear Admiral
Small) covering the support force, the SALT LAKE CITY
participated in the raids on Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai on March 30 and
April 1. The Japanese bases were struck by American Air Power without loss
to surface vessels, and on April 6 the Force anchored in Majuro. By April
25, 1944, the SALT LAKE CITY was on its way to Pearl Harbor, without
escort, with the Cruiser Division arriving on the 30th.
The next day she headed for Mare Island Navy Yard. From May 7 until June
22, 1944, she was at the Yard and from that time to July 1, 1944, operated
in the San Francisco Bay area for Shakedown trials and Gunnery Training.
Adak, the next destination, was reached July 8, 1944, when the SALT
LAKE CITY joined a Task Force under Rear Admiral Small. On
August 1, 1944, the force sorted from Massacre Bay to proceed to
Paramushiro for bombardment. The operation was canceled on the 3rd due to
weather and the Force returned to Attu. Four days later the SALT LAKE
CITY got underway from Adak with her Cruiser Division and returned to
Pearl Harbor, arriving August 13, 1944. The next 16 days were spent in
that area, replenishing and undergoing extensive gunnery training.
On August 29, 1944, the "Swayback Maru" sorted with a task group
that included the U.S.S. CHESTER
(Rear Admiral A. E. Smith),
U.S.S. PENSACOLA and U.S.S. MONTEREY to attack Wake Island. On
September 3, the SALT LAKE CITY expended 311 rounds of 8 inch and
156 rounds of 5"/25 upon the Island. Counter-battery fire by the enemy
was ineffective. The force proceeded to Eniwetok, arriving on September 6,
Until September 24, 1944, the SALT LAKE CITY remained in Eniwetok.
She then went to Saipan and began patrolling and exercises, as a part of a
Task Group under command of Rear Admiral Smith
On October 6th, 1944, the group proceeded to Marcus Island to create a
diversion in connection with an American Carrier raid on Formosa.
Engaging in deceptive activities, the group bombarded Marcus on October 9,
1944. There the SALT LAKE CITY expended 85 rounds of 8" HC shells.
Enemy counter-battery fire was both heavy and accurate, though it scored
no hits. Anchoring at Saipan on the 11th the ship remained there until the
October 13 to 29, 1944, marked the second Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Having sorted from Saipan with a task group under Rear Admiral Smith,
as the Northern Flanking Force of the Third Fleet, the Group was directed,
on October 15, to join the late
Vice-Admiral John S. McCain's Task
Group and the following day did so.
Thereafter, throughout the second battle of the Philippine Sea, it worked
with this Carrier Task Group. Operations carried the SALT LAKE CITY
to within 100 miles of Luzon; numerous strikes were made by the carrier
planes of the group on Japanese bases in the Philippines against Japanese
The SALT LAKE CITY'S effective participation in the battle occurred
October 24-26, 1944. On the second day, the 25th,
Lt. (jg) John T. S. Och, USNR, was
lost overboard in heavy seas. Four days later the SALT LAKE CITY
anchored in Ulithi, for replenishment.
Captain E. A. Mitchell, USN, relieved
Captain Leroy W. Busbey of the
From November 8, 1944 to January 11, 1945, the SALT LAKE CITY'S
Cruiser Division (Rear Admiral Smith) operated offensively against
the Volcano Islands to protect B-29 fields on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.
The ship based at Saipan and Ulithi.
Iwo Jima was bombarded by the SALT LAKE CITY on November 12th, 1944,
with 471 rounds of 8 inch and 254 rounds of 5"/25; on December 8, 1944, it
was again hit with 489 rounds of 8 inch and 355 rounds of 5"/25.
On Christmas Eve, Iwo Jima was struck by 439 more rounds of 8 inch and 699
rounds of 5"/25. On the 27th 460 more rounds of 8 inch and 645 rounds of
5"/25 were directed upon the Japanese stronghold.
Then on the "Triple Play" day, on January 5, 1945, Iwo
Jima, Chichi Jima and Haha Jima were hit successively to the extent of
801 rounds of 8 inch HC and 675 rounds of 5"/25. During this action, the
ship was credited with downing a Japanese Betty Plane.
January 8, 1945, the ships returned to Ulithi to prepare for other
In support of the landing operations at Lingayen Gulf in Luzon, while the
Third Fleet was in the South China Sea, the Task Group (Rear Admiral
Smith) operated as a northern patrol force, covering the flank of the
forces operating on Luzon, prepared to intercept possible Japanese forces
approaching from the Empire. The mission was completed on January 17, 1945
and the force returned to Ulithi.
A week later on the 24th, 1945, Iwo Jima was again bombarded. The
SALT LAKE CITY'S guns hurled 432 8 inch, 35 5"/25 and 100 40 mm
shells. It also assisted in shooting down one Japanese plane.
Back at Ulithi the ship spent from January 26 to February 10, 1945,
conducting gunnery drills and other training for the final phase of
blasting Iwo Jima's might resistance. With the Task Force and a carrier
Force she went forward for the long, hard, final round.
Delivering day and night bombardments the "Swayback" remained at the
objective from February 16 to March 13, 1945. Her call fire and general
fires support missions were highly successful.
During this action at Iwo Jima, the SALT LAKE CITY expended 3,322
rounds of 8 inch, 3,969 rounds of 5"/25 and 356 rounds of star shells, for
a tremendous total of 6,647 rounds.
The ship lost a scout observation plane and two officers to enemy gunfire.
Otherwise no casualties were suffered. Numerous "near misses" from Iwo's
now silenced shore batteries were experienced.
The SALT LAKE CITY'S amount of fire delivered was particularly
outstanding and its marksmanship highly effective. The numerous tributes
to this effect were soon to be indelibly repeated at the assault and
occupation of Okinaw Hima, Ryukyus Japan, during March, April and May, 1945.
Thereafter until May 28, 1945, 66 days later, the veteran cruiser engaged
in both day and night bombardment of Okinawa, provided illumination for the
ground troops and engaged in call fire support duties. "L-Day" at
Okinawa was Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945.
Throughout the assault and occupation of Okinawa, the SALT LAKE CITY
fired 9,070 rounds of 8 inch, 14,225 rounds of 5"/25, 5,770 rounds of 40
mm and 1,711 rounds of 20 mm shells (a total of 30,857). Results were
termed more than gratifying. In addition, the AA batteries assisted in
downing two type Japanese planes and repulsing a number of Kamikazes.
There was no loss of personnel.
May 31, 1945 found the SALT LAKE CITY at LEYTE, for repairs and
On July 6, 1945, the ship returned to Okinawa for duty covering
mine-sweeping and patrolling the East China Sea. After approximately a
month in that area, she was once again on her way to the Aleutians, first
making a stop at Saipan, Aug. 8, 1945.
After the SALT LAKE CITY had left Saipan for Adak word was received
on August 31, 1945, to cover the occupation of Ominato Naval Base, Northern
On September 25th, 1945, troop landings were covered at Aomori and Northern
Honshy city, the ship returning to Ominate the following day.
Captain John Connor, USN, relieved
Captain E. A. Mitchell of the
command on September 27th, 1945.
In July 1946, SALT LAKE CITY was one of the combatant ships used in
the Atomic Bomb Project
Last Days of the SLC
LETTER OF COMMENDATION. .....11
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS.....1
Cape Esperance.... 5 Killed in Action, 21 Wounded.
Komandorski Islands.....2 Killed in Action, 13 Wounded
2nd Battle Philippine Sea.....1 missing in Action
Iwo Jima.....2 Killed in Action
AUTHORIZED "STAR" OPERATIONS
- Pacific Raids -- 1942
(A) Marshall-Gilbert Raids (Wotje) 1 Feb., 1942
(B) Wake Island Raid, 24 Feb., 1943
(C) Marcus Island Raid, 4 Mar., 1942
- Guadalcanal -- Tulagi Landings, 7-9 Aug., 1942
(A) TF 18 Carrier Task Force supporting the landings
- Capture and defense of Guadalcanal, 10 Aug. - 13 Oct., 1942
(A) TF 18 Carrier Force supporting Ground forces and making air strikes.
(B) TF 64 Operations to stop the "Tokyo Express"
- Cape Esperance (Second Savo), 11-12 Oct. 1942
(A) TF 64 Operations stopping the "Tokyo Express"
- Aleutians Operation
(A) Komandorski Islands, 26 Mar., 1943
(B) Attu Occupation (TF 16 covering Force) 11 May - 2 Jun., 1943
- Gilbert Islands Operations, 13 Nov. - 8 Dec., 1943
(A) Bombarded Betio Islands during the assault and capture of Tarawa
(B) Covering Force
- Marshall Islands operation 26 Nov., 1943 - 2 Mar., 1944
(A) Neutralized of Force (TG 50.15). Conducted Eight (8) Distinct Bombardments of Wotje and one (1) bombardment of Taroa.
- Asiatic-Pacific Raids - 1944
(A) Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai (?) Raid 30 Mar., - 1 Apr., 1944 (TF 51.15)
(Support Force to YGS 58.2 & 58.9)
- Philippine Liberation Ribbon (no star)
(A) Second battle of the Philippine Sea, 23-26 Oct. , 1944
(TF 38.1 - Carrier Task Group)
- Iwo Jima Operation 15 Feb. - 13 Mar., 1945
- Okinawa Gunto Occupation 25 Mar. - 27 May, 1945 (TF 54)